Welcome to pledge week 1986! Except this pledge week will include a zombie invasion, thanks to alien slugs that contaminate a 1950s college student, who is cryogenically frozen, then thawed thirty years later when two hopeful pledges break into the campus medical lab in order to steal a cadaver for a fraternity prank. Are you still with me? Long story short (too late): alien slugs are unleashed, and they turn their human hosts into zombies. This is the plot of Night of the Creeps, and it only gets better, delivering a massive dose of ’80s style in the process…
If you can survive the short alien ship scene at the start of the film, you’re in for a treat. Don’t make me explain this, people:
The brief first portion of the movie takes place in the 1950s. A giant vial of alien slugs (see photo above) has fallen to Earth. The guy with the flattop in the photo below is about to find it. I won’t give away major plot points, but this is the above-mentioned guy who is cryogenically frozen and subsequently stored in the medical lab of a college campus. Because locally run labs are exactly where top-secret alien contamination cases are concealed, right?
Fast forward to 1986. Ah, pledge week in the ’80s! And this isn’t just any university. It’s a place where bathroom stall graffiti includes phrases like “Stryper rules”, and where students hang bumper stickers showcasing the words “I’m single, let’s mingle” above their desks. Reflecting on the pledge week festivity, main character J.C. says to his best friend Chris, “This is college life. There’s toilet paper in the trees. Spring is in the air. We’re a couple of bitchin’ guys on the prowl for major-league babes.”
Here’s J.C. (below, right) with leading man, Chris. We all need a friend like J.C. He’s undeniably loyal, and he delivers unforgettable quotes like “I personally would rather have my brains invaded by creatures from space than pledge a fraternity” and “Cryogenics: do you realize what this is? You’ve heard of freeze-dried coffee, right? Well, this is like a freeze-dried human. A corpse-icle.”
Their lives will change when they spot Cindy, who is president of the Kappa Delta sorority. But she doesn’t fit the sorority girl stereotype, and that makes her more attractive. Plus, she wears more than one gold necklace at a time, a top ’80s fashion trend!
Chris decides she’s the girl of his dreams. And J.C. will do whatever it takes to help him get up the nerve to approach her! Even attend a party at a nearby fraternity house. Um, how awesome is this party?:
Here’s the film’s villain: Beta leader Brad, who also happens to be dating Cindy. Looks like the hair and makeup department went a little bit heavy on the peroxide.
Then again, the over-dyed hair gives him the look of a mannequin. Or a wax figure. Which is kind of perfect for the plot!…
J.C. and Chris ask to pledge the fraternity in an attempt to be closer to Cindy. Brad tells them he’ll consider letting them join, but only if they’re willing to steal a cadaver from the university medical lab. You know, typical fraternity stuff! Here’s the lavender glow of the super-futuristic lab. That happens to look like the inside of a spaceship. See the cryogenically preserved human below? Where is this college?!!!
After haphazardly releasing the body from its chamber, J.C. and Chris are legitimately freaked out. They run back to their dorm room and crash on the sofas/beds. That. dorm. room! Neutral tones, clutter, and a hanging plant in the corner. I like to think of the guys going shopping together for the perfect houseplants to tie everything together…
One more character to introduce: Detective Cameron. He answers every phone call with the phrase “Thrill me”, and he’ll be a key player when it comes to fighting the zombies. Here he is in one of his dreams, being offered a coconut drink by a beautiful woman:
Here he is in “real life”. His living room looks like something from the set of Stranger Things:
Without giving too much away, let’s just say that once the 1950s college student has fully thawed, he terrorizes the sorority house as the slugs explode out of his head and seek new hosts. It’s not long before a zombie epidemic is spreading.
But even with all of the craziness, there’s still time for a formal dance. And the montage of the frat and sorority folks getting ready is pretty darn awesome. Here are a few highlights. Don’t forget the pink cummerbund!
And of course, you’ve gotta pose for a photo. Props to the guy with the mint green bowtie. And don’t get me started on the mustaches! The unthinkable happens when the Betas board a party bus and encounter a zombie dog. But since some of you may not have seen this gem of an ’80s movie, I’m going to hold back on sharing key plot points.
This sorority girl in the purple dress (see below) is one of the best parts of the film. “I’m so sure!” Who can blame her for not recognizing that Brad has transformed into an actual zombie when she answers the front door?! And check out her layered necklaces. Because if you’re not wearing at least two, it’s not 1986!
The Story Heats Up
It goes without saying that this will be a night to remember…and there’s a flame thrower involved.
Not to mention, Detective Cameron, who has entertained us with quotes like “What is this? A homicide or a bad B movie?” can also perform cool tricks, like using a can of hairspray and a cigarette to obliterate alien slugs:
By the end of the night, Chris and Cindy have seen a lot of slug-spewing, walking corpses. Maybe there’s still time to head to the formal. If there’s a shortage of living, breathing frat guys to accompany the girls, perhaps some of the mustachioed extras in the back can fill in. I guess you’ll have to watch and see how it all wraps up…
The only thing better than watching ’80s horror films during Halloween season is consuming large amounts of junk food while watching ’80s horror films during Halloween season. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I’ll share the recipe for these Reese’s Peanut Butter Milkshakes! It’s going to be good…
Until then, enjoy the changing weather and the anticipation of Halloween goodness! XOXO, Kate